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Former captain of England women's football team now trains deprived kids and thinks Southgate's squad will win World Cup

SWNS
906 次觀看
2 個月前
<p>A police officer who was captain of England women's team at the same time as Becks now trains deprived kids - and thinks Southgate's squad will win the World Cup.<br></p><p>PC Karen Walker, 53, was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 2006 when she retired from professional football and joined Huddersfield Police, after seeing her mum experience domestic violence during her childhood.</p><p>Karen scored 40 goals in 83 caps for England and captained the team at the same time as David Beckham, playing in the same iconic white kit until 2003.</p><p>She now teaches kids in Hull, East Yorks, how to play - and says watching them progress has been one of the best experiences of her life.</p><p>Karen, from Barnsley, South Yorks, holds a record for scoring a hat-trick in every round of a FA Cup season in 1992, and joined Year 5 and 6 kids at Clifton Primary School on Weds (Dec 7) for a kickabout in one of England's most deprived estates.</p><p>Pupils watched the World Cup as part of the curriculum on British values - amid fears some may not show up otherwise.</p><p>Karen said: "I captained England at the same time as David Beckham, but one of the proudest things I've ever done in my life is playing with vulnerable young people as a police officer.</p><p>"I pushed myself to the limits during my football career, so now I’m happy to be here.</p><p>"Everything I used in football I use in the police - teamwork, winning and losing.</p><p>"Someone gave me a tiny FA Cup for Secret Santa a few years ago, my colleagues torment me for it.</p><p>"I first applied to join the police in 1989 - my mum experienced domestic violence.</p><p>"It happens, we shouldn't hide it. When I speak to victims I can really relate to them."</p><p>As a teenager Karen joined the best women's club in the UK at the time, Doncaster Belles, which she said was a "baptism of fire" and got her into the England squad at 17.</p><p>But she had a personality clash with Hope Powell, who became England gaffer in 1998.</p><p>Karen's aggressive playing style got her the nickname 'Wacker' but despite her prowess on the pitch, in 1998 Hope decided not to play her.</p><p>When Karen got called into a meeting she thought she was in trouble, but was speechless to be made the captain.</p><p>In her England career she scored 40 goals in 83 caps, and played in 13 FA Cup Finals.</p><p>Karen said: "Southgate is the perfect man for the job.</p><p>"Rashford and Sterling are using their platform to talk about social issues, they seem like lovely young men - they set an example.</p><p>"I'm really, really optimistic."</p><p>Karen retired from England in 2003 after winning Sky Sports International Player of the year, and retired in 2006 after taking Leeds United to their first Women’s FA Cup final.</p><p>During her career she put friendship before cash or promotions.</p><p>She only went to Leeds United because a friend was the manager and always played with a Man U sweatband on under her kit - so the club banned her from doing press.</p><p>Karen said some of the most emotional experiences of her life had been helping autistic teenagers to gain enough confidence to win a match for the first time.</p><p>After the goalkeeper told her “Kaz, that’s what dreams are made of”, she cried.</p><p>Karen said: "I was crying my eyes out, it’s the most rewarding thing by a million miles.</p><p>"That was one of the best things I've ever done in my life."</p><p>Deputy head Melissa Stephens said the kids were "bubbling with excitement".</p><p>Mrs Stephens said: "It was lovely, the kids were bubbling with excitement.</p><p>"They love football, they are bonkers on it.</p><p>"We are in one of the most deprived estates in England - the top ten per cent, and we have 32 different languages spoken.</p><p>"It is so positive for us, as a sporting angle but also to see someone who has had high aspirations but is principled - children can learn those values through football, like fair play.</p><p>"The children were asking Karen 'please will you come again'."</p><p>Most kids at the school love Man U, Liverpool or Hull City, but some come from backgrounds involving domestic violence or transient lifestyles.</p><p>Head teacher Terri Hadfield said: "Karen is so relatable, she's doing a lot of good - the fact she's local and from Huddersfield Police, they probably wouldn't expect that of a police officer.</p><p>"The kids are really interested in the World Cup, I took the decision to show it because we linked it to British values of the footballers, they had the option not to watch it.</p><p>"I think some of them would have stayed off otherwise.</p><p>"Karen is very salt of the earth, very straight up and honest.</p><p>"The kids absolutely loved it.</p><p>"We are really ambitious for the kids, we want them to know they can go out and be the best.</p><p>"The odds are stacked against kids from deprived areas.</p><p>"The expectations are lowered, but we have made sure they are really high, that they can do what they want with perseverance."</p>
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